Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Guest Post: Archives and the First-year Student in IL

iLOVE welcomes a guest post from Stella Herzig, Reference and Instruction Librarian at St Ambrose University in Davenport, IA.


Talking about saving stuff for future historians has always been a subject of interest to me. I urge my relatives to use archival quality folders and print out best photos from their iPhones. When it came to my Information Literacy 101 class, a one-credit required course at St. Ambrose University, I would usually jump onto my soapbox for a few minutes concerning that subject and, more often than not, all I achieved were rolling eyes. One year it occurred to me and to the University archivist, Onnica Marquez, that instead of the “Special Collections and Archives” being a 5 minute stop on the big library tour I gave on the first day of class, we could spend a class period actually in the room being interactive and maybe frame some IL concepts.

I generally err on the side of fun and wanted it to be hands on. So the archivist and I collaborate to teach a 75 minute class. (She does a great first 30 minute CSI: Archives activity before the activity below that I hope she will share in this very blog one day.) She gathers and sets out a collection of old yearbooks, college catalogs and student handbooks from the very start of the college in 1880’s through to the 1980s.

The students break into groups for each decade and find fun and interesting facts, rules, tuition rates, photos to share with the big group. There is often laughter from the restrictions, clothes styles and various ads, even font styles du jour, etc.…

We then come back together and each group shared what they found starting with the first decade chronologically. It shows a progression of change we comment on – we all see history and social mores changing. We talk about primary sources and how useful it is to view the originals without filters. We discuss the manner in which their cohort of the 21st century would be included in the archives. Digitally? It is a chance to expose the fragility and gaps of historical documentation of campus life today.

I take a group photo of them (with one kid wearing the woolen school beanie from the 1950s) with my own iPhone and print it out on archival paper and store it in those very archives for the students in 60-100 years to look at and laugh at! The students love it! I encourage them to submit digital photos that they take on campus or at campus events to the archivist who can print them out and save in the archives for their story to carry on.

Outcome? A lesson on the use of primary sources, an understanding of what an archive is and how they could use it, not only here, but elsewhere and a commitment to preserve their own present for future generations -- not to mention, as first-year students, a sense of collegiate loyalty and buy-in (retention, anyone?).


Phillips, C. N., & Shaw, D. W. (2011). Fact, fiction, and first-years: Helping students imaginatively engage the archives (early!). Journal for the Society of North Carolina Archivists, 9(1), 50-60. Retrieved from Library, Information Science & Technology Abstracts database.

LeFrance, A. (2015, October 28). Raiders of the lost web. Retrieved from the Atlantic web site: http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2015/10/raidersofthelostweb/409210/ 

Monday, November 16, 2015

Guest Post: IL Instruction Reflections from a New Librarian

iLOVE welcomes a guest post from Greg Ludwig, Student Employee and Circulation Services Librarian at Loras College in Dubuque, IA.


At the interview for my current position at Loras College, one of the members of the search committee asked, “Which responsibilities for this position do you feel least prepared for?” I didn’t have to think a minute, because I had exactly zero experience teaching information literacy concepts to classrooms of undergraduates. Fortunately, teaching is not the primary responsibility associated with my position, or it’s likely that I wouldn’t have gotten the job. Even more fortunately, my fellow librarians at Loras have patiently helped me to ease into the process of teaching by involving me in curriculum design, modelling effective teaching in the classroom, and providing feedback about the classes that I have taught. Now that the semester is within a few short weeks of its conclusion, and I have a number of classes under my belt, I’d like to share a few of my observations as someone entirely new to teaching in a formal setting.

Let me start by discussing curriculum design. During the summer, I worked with my colleagues on revising our approach to the foundational information literacy courses that we teach. To orient ourselves to the problem of developing a curriculum that would be engaging and responsive to the needs of our students, we read and discussed Reflective Teaching, Effective Learning: Instructional Literacy for Library Educators by Char Booth. If you are looking for a good text about learner-focused library instruction, this book would be well worth a read. As an outsider to IL instruction, I found the following highlights particularly useful:

  • The instructional design process is recursive, driven by ongoing evaluation of classroom outcomes.
  • Not everyone can teach effectively in exactly the same way. Developing an identity as a teacher is a huge part of reaching your audience.
  • Whether designing instruction or teaching, it’s essential to keep the needs of your audience in mind. Ms. Booth refers to this as the “What’s in it for me?” principle.

Based on our discussions of the book and an analysis of our information literacy assessment from the previous year, we developed a program that we hoped would build upon the strengths identified in our IL assessment and shore up some of the areas that were not as strong. This was the hope, but of course, I didn’t want to be the one to dash our hopes right off the bat with a lackluster performance.

I was saved by the grace of my colleagues, who allowed me to audit several of the classes that they taught using our new curriculum before I had to teach my own. By closely observing how they interacted in the classroom, taking notes, and asking questions at the end of each class, I felt much better prepared to begin teaching. I know that many librarians have been introduced to classroom instruction via a “sink or swim” approach, learning on the fly how to manage a classroom and convey information literacy concepts, but I’m really glad that I was given a “life jacket” first.

When the time came for me to teach my first classes, my colleagues switched places with me, auditing my classes and giving me notes, feedback, and encouragement. During these initial classes, I learned to keep a close watch on the time and use a checklist to make sure that I was staying on schedule. I learned to modulate the volume and tone of my voice to hold the attention of the room. Most importantly, I learned when to stick to the script of the curriculum that we had designed and when to improvise and make changes.

At this point, it would be too much for me to say that I think that I’ve become a great teacher, but I do feel confident to lead a classroom, and I do genuinely enjoy the experience of teaching. Could I have developed this ease as an instructor without the same immersive and gradual approach to learning about instruction? Perhaps. However, I’m pretty sure that I arrived at my current place with greater efficiency because I didn’t have to invent myself as a teacher whole cloth. I hope this can be food for thought for those hiring new librarians who will be teaching. I’m curious about the experience of other information professionals out there. What education/training did you receive related to information literacy instruction? How did you feel the first time that you were in front of a classroom? Please feel free to post comments!

Saturday, October 24, 2015

ILA Informal Meeting Notes 10/15/15

The Information Literacy Interest Group met for our annual informal gathering at the ILA Fall Conference recently. Seven different institutions from across the state were represented by ten librarians, including two librarians new both to Iowa and the profession. Much of the meeting was spent introducing ourselves and talking about the state of IL at our respective institutions. Across the state Information literacy is embedded in pieces across required courses, an explicit Core outcome, a component of the Core without a dedicated course, in IL-designated courses, and in a professional development type course. There was talk of portal courses, integrating research and writing centers, and the “suggestion” model (meaning the variety of levels that faculty are expected to incorporate IL instruction with their course, ranging from strongly recommended to lip service with minimal library contact). The topic of incorporating more storytelling into teaching was raised and Josh Vossler’s work about constructing stories (presentation & handout) and using active ideas framed around big issues was shared. Kristy Raine, from Mount Mercy University, also talked about a course in which she compiled a backpack containing what a local child might actually have to better illustrate and make personal the idea of poverty impacting women and children in the U.S. The group plans to meet again during the IPAL and ILA-ACRL spring conferences.

We started with introductions, welcoming two new-to-the-profession (and to Iowa) librarians to the group. Then we went around the table and shared where we currently are in terms of IL within our institutions.

Those from Central College shared that they have been embedded in the first-year seminar course since 2000, with a big change in that course's organization having taken place last year. Previously the courses were all common, meaning texts and syllabi were the same. Now the courses have shifted so that a fourth of the content is shared across all sections (to meet the same learning outcomes) but the readings or approaches are not common. The librarians are working to find a balance in how much instruction they are able to do with each section; 4 sessions was too much, 2 was too few, so working to find the sweet spot. Currently they're working to modify their approach and brainstorm new ideas for working with this first-year population. Beyond that, librarians have involvement in the research and writing class where they work to bridge the divide between research and writing.

One of the new professionals in the group was from Wartburg College, and is still growing in her understanding of the level of library/librarian involvement, but provided the group with the following information. Currently there are 5 IL librarians embedding in a variety of classes, withing within the upper level courses/subject specific courses, but also working with a first year course for basic collegiate skill stepping stones such as ENGL 101 and other 100-level classes wherein they usually do approximately 2 workshops per semester per section.

Librarians from Grand View University shared that their focus has shifted from 1-shot sessions (though they do still happen in upper level courses) to a focus on embedding within the core courses after a curriculum update a few years ago. Each section of their first-year seminar has an embedded librarian where the librarian sees their section between 4-8 sessions. Instructors work with the librarians to meet the needs of their students, using a "menu" of sorts where they can select when various skills/approaches to IL will be covered in their course. This embedded relationship ensures all traditional freshmen receive instruction to help build their IL foundation in their first year. Then that foundation is built upon in a way that is subject/assignment specific, using different activities and approaches, should they return to the library for future instruction in upper-level courses. This helps prevent "library fatigue" and the "I already know this because I was in the library for class all freshman year" response. Throughout the curriculum there are courses that have to meet an IL requirement, which has led to faculty seeking out librarians as they develop assignments and look to teach their students more.

Librarians from Simpson College shared that they use scavenger hunts to increase engagement with students, getting them into the library and exploring the resources and space. Information literacy is part of the core, and IL instruction from librarians is suggested for faculty to incorporate (which many do). They've also found success in having students be required to meet with them for a research appointment (and then receive the librarian's signature after it is complete). They've cultivated a good relationship with the Writing Center where they refer students back and forth depending on their needs (i.e. Editing? Writing Center. Finding good stuff? Librarians.)

At Brown-Mackie College their non-traditional student population tackles month-long classes, which can be intensive. The librarian has access to the new, incoming student classes approximately three times. Because it is an iPad campus, 2 sessions are allotted for technology (iPad use, Apps), with the other being databases use/resource finding and APA citations. There is some interest in composition classes and others, but it can be difficult given time and staffing constraints to get into more classes.

Those from University of Dubuque shared that the campus has a wide range of student populations, academically ranging from traditional undergraduates, non-traditional/adult learners, seminary students, and masters level students. IL has been a core objective for the last 5 years, and librarians have been highly active with their instruction for the last 10-15 years, which took time to build up. In many of the core classes, students see librarians several times (6ish?), and there are many IL menus/modules lessons for professors to select from (and then are tailored to their class, particularly upper-level courses). They also work with the BRIDGE program, which is set up to help at-risk students be successful and develop strategies for how to approach assignments and classes at the college level. Librarians also help with assessment of student presentations/posters, both in developing the IL rubric, and assessing student work using the rubric.

The Mount Mercy representative indicated that, while there is no free-standing IL dedicated course, IL is a part of their core curriculum. There are portal courses for all freshmen, built around a theme, and several student support services are incorporated into the course, including the library. However, the level of involvement/buy in varies depending on the professor. Some departments have more interest in having a librarian partner with them in their courses for IL instruction than others (i.e. nursing has a lot of involvement and it is difficult to make headway in business). The librarian emphasized the importance of building relationships with faculty and advocating for library instruction; by building connections and serving faculty, the students are also served.

Interest was expressed in using more storytelling in library instruction. Josh Vossler’s work about constructing stories (presentation & handout) and using active ideas framed around big issues was shared. Kristy Raine, from Mount Mercy University, also talked about a course in which she compiled a backpack containing what a local child might actually have to better illustrate and make personal the idea of poverty impacting women and children in the U.S. In the bag she included what these kids (in the specific community they were examining) would have or not have, i.e. food, supplies, latch-key kid type foods that they could make or eat by themselves, etc. Others have mentioned using icebreakers, like having students pair up and share the story behind their name, can start to get conversation going.

We also briefly mentioned the Evernote repository where attendees of previous iLOVE events have shared resources, ideas, visuals, etc.

We're looking forward to seeing folks again soon for the spring conference -- Keep your eyes peeled, but it is looking like it will be held May 19, 2016.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Research Questions: Deconstructing to construct

Constructing a good research question is a challenging task for many students, and let's be honest, faculty and librarians. You need a good balance of broad concept and narrow focus. Of a question, whose question isn't immediately obvious and one you can actually answer. Depending on your research approach, either primary or secondary research, your question can vary widely. But when wielded deftly, it can be the key to unlocking research.

To help my students, especially those in intro-level courses, I've broken down the research question into its component pieces. My coworker and I identified 4 required parts, and 3 suggested extras or bonus features. The 4 pieces any basic research question needs? Question word, Action Verb, Topic, and Punctuation. The first and last of those are pretty self explanatory. Typically any research question that starts with how or why will be stronger and easier to create. Obviously your topic needs to go in the question somewhere. It seems like a no-brainer, but you'd be surprised how often students don't put their actual topic in the question anywhere.

The last piece is where some faculty and I differ. I want students writing research questions with action verbs. Too often I see students asking questions about how one thing "affects" another thing. Or "influences" or "changes" something. Impact is another of those. Those verbs mean very little outside the context of a question. They result in lazy questions. How did Hurricane Katrina impact the people of New Orleans? Um. Impact how? Politically? Psychologically? Economically? Physically? Using an action verb requires more thinking, but ultimately gets to a more complex question. How did Hurricane Katrina illuminate long standing racial issues in New Orleans and the nation at large? See, action verb with a stronger question. (I also get away with this because my liaison areas are in the social sciences where this structure works!)

But you don't have to stop there. You can add a sub-topic, or adjectives, or even a type of cause and effect. These aren't required, but the more of those you add, the narrower your focus becomes. I've worked with students by showing them a series of research questions and having them identify the parts. Or showing them a poor question and having them help me rewrite it using the chart above. So far, it's lead to much better research questions.

The next step is getting from your research question to a thesis. I like modeling this with students. It also illustrates the importance of these questions. A good question helps you decide what resources and research is important. It guides how you read those resources. And it also leads directly to your thesis. Your thesis ought to be the answer to your research question. That's why you can't ask a question about the future unless you're doing the experiment yourself. You have to be able to answer it using the research/resources available to you.

One last thing about thesis statements I like to tie into my research question lessons.

Becky's 3 Rules of Thesis Statements

  1. It must be a declarative statement. No questions marks here.
  2. It must answer your research question.
  3. You must be able to prove it using evidence.
That's it. Three simple rules to help guide students toward efficient and productive research.  How do you teach research questions? Do you? Or do you focus topics in a different way?

IPAL IL Interest Group Meetup at ILA 2015

Are you interested in instruction and planning on attending the fall ILA Conference in Des Moines?

Share ideas, brainstorm solutions, and talk about innovative approaches to instruction at the IPAL Information Literacy Interest Group informal meetup on Thursday evening (Oct. 15). All academic librarians are welcome (Regents, private, community college, library school students, etc.)--The more the merrier!

We will begin immediately after the ILA-ACRL business meeting (likely around 5:15 p.m.) in room 175 on the first floor.

No need to bring anything or prepare any ideas or questions. We’ll keep things fairly unstructured. Think of it as a chance to check in to see how the semester is going, address any issues or questions, and share any triumphs you’ve had in instruction so far. Many of the spring workshop attendees indicated interest in an informal meet up at the fall conference again this year, and we're excited to reconnect! Worried about time? We’ll be sure to wrap up the conversation with plenty of time to make it to dinner/trivia night with Dan Wardell.

Please contact me at cstone [@] grandview.edu or Becky Canovan at bcanovan [@] dbq.edu if you have any questions.

You can add it to your schedule here: http://2015ilaconference.sched.org/event/27fd001d8b7e89bbd0c930f948f84a5a#.VgHYcNJViko

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Becoming Plagiarism “Experts”

I am by no means the foremost plagiarism expert on campus but, after a revision of the university academic dishonesty policy, I had several proactive faculty and students coming to me wanting me to teach a class or share recommendations for how to prevent plagiarism (accidental or otherwise).

Faculty will come to me and ask me to “talk to their students about plagiarism.” While that’s fine, it’s more helpful to everyone if we can lay some groundwork with the faculty as they develop their assignments as well. 
It’s always best to prevent plagiarism before it happens, and one way to do so is to have faculty build in checkpoints. It is a lot harder for students to procrastinate and fake it if there are several check-ins, drafts, annotated bibliographies, and individual conferences along the way. 

In terms of instruction for their students, I try to fold the idea of plagiarism into other things. I go through what plagiarism is and why it’s important to know about. But the bulk of my time isn’t spent looming scare tactics and hefty consequences over their heads (though consequences are mentioned). The bulk of my time is spent helping them develop strategies to prevent it, focusing on:
If it’s something that raises a red flag for the faculty member after the final draft has been submitted, it’s helpful for them to:
  • Google any quotes or sections that sound fishy
  • Look for a brand new voice not seen in any of their other writing (throughout their semester’s work)
  • Conduct interviews with the student(s) about the topic of their paper (where the student comes in and visits, without any notes) -- This one is especially helpful. If the student has trouble talking about many (or any) details from their paper, perhaps they didn’t write it themselves. Often faculty forget about this option. 
If a student approaches me individually I try to explain it in direct relation to the assignment they’re working on.  
  • Sometimes, however, we wind up catching it mid-project. Perhaps their instructor has gone through a draft of their paper and noted some areas of concern, i.e. “If this were your final draft, it would be plagiarism. Please fix this” or just “Plagiarism! Fix!” with a section circled. While this helps the student see something is wrong, it doesn’t help them understand what is wrong or how to fix it. That’s where our conversation comes in. Usually when this happens I ask the student a series of questions:
  • Did you know this information on your own, before ever reading or seeing it somewhere? (Usually the answer to this question is no.)
  • Where did you get the information? Then we track it down to the exact page number and paragraph, make note of the necessary information to cite it with, see if what they used was a direct quote, paraphrased, or sort of paraphrased but not changed enough to quite fly.  
  • If it’s not quite paraphrased enough, I’ll have the student flip the resource over (sometimes I’ll even ask if I can hold onto it), hide their original draft, and I’ll open up an email, address it to them, and ask them “tell me about…” or “describe …” or “explain to me…” while I type what they tell me. This forces them to put it in their own words, helping with paraphrasing. If they don’t know the content well enough, it will be evident. If they think there’s no other, or no better, way to say it, then we return to the original and work through the direct quote process. 
  • We also have a conversation about how using too many direct quotes counts as plagiarism -- The instructor wants to see the student’s thoughts, evidence of understanding, and interpretation in the writing, too! It can’t just be a regurgitation of quotes from others. That doesn’t count as original work from the student. (If they wanted that, they’d ask for a list of their favorite quotes or a book report.)
I prefer the individual interview as it is really effective in helping the student step back from the sources to figure out what the words within actually mean. Without that understanding the deeper discussion, interpretation, and application of ideas can’t happen. 

There are tons of great activities and lessons others have done and shared online. What are some things you’ve found work well in helping students identify plagiarism and prevent it in the future?

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Guest Post: Numbers, Numbers, Everywhere!

iLOVE welcomes a guest post from Anne Marie Gruber, Assistant Director for Library Instruction and Public Services at University of Dubuque in Dubuque, IA.


Let me start by saying the only way I passed my required college stats class was by having my dad (an actuary & former high school math teacher whose numeric skills I obviously did not inherit) teach me the entire semester’s content over spring break. He helped me understand what my professor couldn’t. So that is to say, like many people, math freaks me out!

Fast forward to this past fall, when I was asked to help juniors in a maternal/child nursing course use a complex government website, Healthy People 2020, that is chock full of health statistics. I realized quickly that website navigation wouldn’t be the students’ main problem--it would be the stats. Wary, but up for a challenge, I forced myself to work at understanding the statistics myself so I could model an example for them.

Like me, many librarians might be uncomfortable with numeric data. Chi-squares and p-values make you want to run away and hide? Me too!! BUT I argue that we are well-positioned to help students develop quantitative literacy skills. Don’t we already teach students to be critical consumers of information? Don’t we already help them find reliable sources? How to be persistent in their research rather than using the first random results? How not to be hoodwinked into using less-than-credible sources by slick-looking presentation? These things shouldn’t change when we are talking about numeric information rather than text.

So let’s start small. If we’re asked by a student at the Reference Desk how to plunk a pretty infographic they found online into a PowerPoint for a presentation, let’s have a little conversation about verifying the stats using the original source. Let’s not be afraid to help students dig into those results sections in scholarly articles. Let’s help students conducting primary research in the sciences and social sciences, to think critically about how to display their results in a truthful way.

In an age of distilled sound bites, emotion-based arguments, and doctored stats (with more to come as we gear up for political crazytown 2016!), we have a responsibility to help our students become critical news and media consumers. It doesn’t mean we have to be math experts, but simply work toward empowering students to approach statistics with a healthy skepticism. Let’s help students understand that all numbers come from somewhere, and numbers can lie.

Don’t worry. There’s another bonus of not being “a math person”--street cred. When I told the nursing students my college stats story, it helped them see that with a bit of hard work and a few helping hands, anyone can start to understand numbers!

If librarians can partner with others at our institutions to help students engage with quantitative information in the context of their disciplines, we will help them be better consumers and creators of information. One sample assignment/activity, applicable across a variety of disciplines, could require students to find an infographic and track back to the original sources of the data, then provide a brief analysis regarding credibility and “truthiness”. With Big Data getting, well, BIG, should the library be left out of that conversation?  No way. Information is information no matter the form, and determining credibility is vitally important to teach students in any case.

How are you doing incorporating quantitative reasoning concepts in your instruction? If you aren’t yet, how would you like to? Let’s talk and share using the comments below.

Thank you to these wonderful people for listening to my poorly-formed thoughts about this topic as well as providing helpful ideas:
Jessica Johanningmeier, Quantitative Reasoning Consultant at Cornell College
James Drury, Assistant Director of the Academic Success Center at University of Dubuque

Resources & Interesting Reads:

Flaherty, C. (24 April 2015). “Math wars.” Inside Higher Ed. Available from: https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2015/04/24/just-how-much-math-and-what-kind-enough-life-sciences-majors#at_pco=smlwn-1.0&at_si=553a9591e79f94e0&at_ab=per-2&at_pos=0&at_tot=1

National Numeracy Network: http://serc.carleton.edu/nnn/index.html

Steen, L.A. (2004). Achieving quantitative literacy: An urgent challenge for higher education. Washington, D.C.: Mathematical Assn of America.

Stephens-Davidowitz, S. (2 May 2015). “How to not drown in numbers.” The New York Times. Available from: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/03/opinion/sunday/how-not-to-drown-in-numbers.html?ad-keywords=socialopinion%3Fsmid%3Dfb-nytopinion&smtyp=cur&_r=2&referrer=

A Few Institutions doing Interesting Things:

Bowdoin College: https://www.bowdoin.edu/qr-program/
Carleton College: https://apps.carleton.edu/quirk/
Michigan State University: http://libguides.lib.msu.edu/qlit
St. Olaf College: http://www.stolaf.edu/other/ql/case.html
University of Texas-San Antonio: http://qlp.utsa.edu/

Monday, June 22, 2015

Ask the Masses: Analyzing and Understanding Scholarly Journal Articles

We are posting a few of the questions from the Solution or Sympathy portion of the IL Interest Group session held during the spring 2015 IPAL Conference. There were several wonderful questions that were submitted but, unfortunately, we ran out of time to discuss them all. Leave your solution or sympathy response in the comments and help keep the great sharing going!

Helping students to analyze scholarly journal articles. What to focus on? How to assess their abilities in reading and evaluating them?

Share your ideas in the comments!

Monday, June 8, 2015

Ask the Masses: Laptops and Student Distraction

We are posting a few of the questions from the Solution or Sympathy portion of the IL Interest Group session held during the spring 2015 IPAL Conference. There were several wonderful questions that were submitted but, unfortunately, we ran out of time to discuss them all. Leave your solution or sympathy response in the comments and help keep the great sharing going!

Students glued to laptops. Current response: Have them turn it off or sit in front row. Note: since I prefer to take notes on a computer, I do not deny students this opportunity. It is the students who are obviously “gone” that I address.  Which other approaches are there?

Share your ideas in the comments!

Monday, May 25, 2015

Ask the Masses: Students not "Getting" IL

We are posting a few of the questions from the Solution or Sympathy portion of the IL Interest Group session held during the spring 2015 IPAL Conference. There were several wonderful questions that were submitted but, unfortunately, we ran out of time to discuss them all. Leave your solution or sympathy response in the comments and help keep the great sharing going!

Course-based: what if you get halfway through the course and find out they aren’t “getting” info. lit?

Share your ideas in the comments!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Ask the Masses: Narrowing Topics

We are posting a few of the questions from the Solution or Sympathy portion of the IL Interest Group session held during the spring 2015 IPAL Conference. There were several wonderful questions that were submitted but, unfortunately, we ran out of time to discuss them all. Leave your solution or sympathy response in the comments and help keep the great sharing going!

Students who have trouble narrowing down topic for research project -- when running a broad search and browsing through results or subject headings doesn’t help.

Share your ideas in the comments!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Ask the Masses: Active Learning in an Inflexible Space

We are posting a few of the questions from the Solution or Sympathy portion of the IL Interest Group session held during the spring 2015 IPAL Conference. There were several wonderful questions that were submitted but, unfortunately, we ran out of time to discuss them all. Leave your solution or sympathy response in the comments and help keep the great sharing going!

We have traditional long tables with computers in our IL classroom. How can we better facilitate active learning in an inflexible space? (Aside from stealing Drake’s chairs) :o)

Share your ideas in the comments!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Ask the Masses: Fixing the Librarian as Babysitter Problem

We are posting a few of the questions from the Solution or Sympathy portion of the IL Interest Group session held during the spring 2015 IPAL Conference. There were several wonderful questions that were submitted but, unfortunately, we ran out of time to discuss them all. Leave your solution or sympathy response in the comments and help keep the great sharing going!

Professor uses you as a “babysitter” and does not have an assignment. Is there a go-to assignment when the professor has no plans?

Share your ideas in the comments!

Monday, March 30, 2015

Ask the Masses: Professor Says Students Need It but Won't Use It Later

We are posting a few of the questions from the Solution or Sympathy portion of the IL Interest Group session held during the spring 2015 IPAL Conference. There were several wonderful questions that were submitted but, unfortunately, we ran out of time to discuss them all. Leave your solution or sympathy response in the comments and help keep the great sharing going!

Criminal justice professor asking for a “primary/secondary” sources lesson when he’s not sure why. Just that they “must” know it without the department ever using those terms. (Language/vocabulary prof. is using not matching what they’ll need in the future.)

Share your ideas in the comments!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Building Your Instruction Toolkit ILA/ACRL 2015

The Activity
Pair off and share an instruction strategy, technique or lesson plan with each other. Find another pair and share again.

The Recap
Please share  your ideas in the iLOVE Ongoing Repository (info. here: http://bit.ly/ipalinstructionswap) or email bcanovan@dbq.edu any details, manipulatives, or resources to add to our Evernote instruction database. 

The Activity
How do you brainstorm your instruction? What do you consider first? How do you balance faculty
expectations and the realities of time & student skill development?

The Recap
Did I miss something or do you have something to add to the conversation? Share it in the comments below!

Circuit Training IPAL 2015

The Activity
Explore your choice of 5 different stations, then switch to another area of interest when the bell rings. Stations included:
  • Instruction - Getting to "Go!:" brainstorm teaching ideas, discuss where you get your inspiration, and how you get past instruction "writer's block"
  • Instruction - Bells & Whistles: discuss manipulatives/learning objects for inspiration, flipped classrooms and other strategies & activities
  • Computers vs. Non-Computers: when is it best to walk away from computers? How do you work when you're not in a computer lab?
  • Potpourri: just like on Jeopardy, it's a little bit of everything from assessment to accreditation, formal/informal ideas, great tools & technology, closing the gap, sharing information with students or instructors, and anything else you happen to think of!
  • Beyond Instruction: brainstorming professional development for librarians and ways to provide development for faculty, workshop offerings, sharing scholarship, and strategies for reflection and improvement

The Recap
There were several wonderful ideas that were shared during the Circuit Training session; you can find the notes from the various stations in the embedded document below. Did I miss something or do you have something to add to the conversation? Share it in the comments below!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Solution or Sympathy IPAL & ILA/ACRL 2015

The Activity
Write down (or share) instruction/library-related questions or concerns. Share the questions anonymously to see if the group has experienced something similar. Offer up possible solutions, or sympathize, and let the person who submitted the question know that at least they're not alone. 

The Recap
I'm so glad we were able to try out the Solution or Sympathy activity this year! It's wonderful sharing ideas and visiting about struggles and successes. Thank you to everyone who contributed to the discussion! After Thursday's discussions, we thought utilizing the unconference time during Friday's ILA/ACRL conference to continue the conversation would be helpful, and it was so nice to have that extra time to share and discuss. You can find notes from both days below -- Did I miss something or do you have something to add to the conversation? Add it in the comments below!

There were several wonderful questions that were submitted during the Thursday morning IPAL session but, unfortunately, we ran out of time to discuss them all. We are sharing those as Ask the Masses posts over the next several weeks, so check back in regularly (or follow the blog in your RSS) and comment with your ideas.

IPAL IL Interest Group Solution or Sympathy

ILA/ACRL Unconference Solution or Sympathy

Monday, February 23, 2015

IPAL 2015 Conference -Drake University, Des Moines

Interested in instruction and information literacy?

Join us at the 2015 IPAL Conference in Des Moines
for the IL Interest Group morning session where we will share ideas, brainstorm, and engage in great conversation!

Prefer the details with cheerful mandolin music in the background? Here’s a video: http://youtu.be/Ii1-WHfIspg Otherwise you can find information below. 

Interested in what we did last year? Scroll through the blog to learn more:  http://ilove-instruction.blogspot.com/

IPAL registration and conference information: http://www.ipalgroup.org/IPAL_2015_Conference.pdf

Questions regarding the IL session?  Contact Cara Stone (cstone@grandview.edu) or Becky Canovan (bcanovan@dbq.edu